Bite-sized news for you to chew over - Palmer laughs off FFA's legal threat, Wilkinson backs the Mariners and much more
Former Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer believes Hunter Sports Group owner Nathan Tinkler should have nothing to worry about by Football Federation Australia's legal action. HSG faces a legal challenge after announcing its intentions to hand back the licence to operation A-League club Newcastle Jets to the FFA, with the game's governing body potentially claiming damages of $80 million. HSG were just two years into a 10-year agreement with the FFA, but Palmer, who had his licence revoked over several breaches of his contract, believes fellow mining magnate Tinkler has little with which to be concerned. "FFA [chief executive officer] Ben Buckley should run a mile from the courts," Palmer told The Newcastle Herald. "It's laughable that they are threatening to take Nathan Tinkler to court after taking away our licence for Gold Coast United. Meanwhile, they have announced a new team for western Sydney without any proper consultation. This debacle highlights that the demise of the FFA is almost certain. I feel sorry for the fans and all the people associated with the game in Australia."
Central Coast Mariners captain Alex Wilkinson has backed his side to overcome Perth Glory in their A-League preliminary final on Saturday and book a meeting in the grand final with the Brisbane Roar. The Mariners lost their two-legged semi-final with the Roar 5-2 on aggregate, falling 3-2 in the second leg on Sunday. But Wilkinson believes the Mariners can bounce back against the Glory, despite their opponents' bright run of five wins in their last six matches. "[Glory are] on a good roll," Wilkinson said. "They've probably scored 10 goals in the last three games so they're definitely going to be tough. But obviously we're at home and as Arnie [coach Graham Arnold] said, the performance [against Brisbane] was pretty good. A lesser team at 2-0 down could've chucked it in and it could have been four or five. But the spirit we've got in the change room is fantastic here, the boys always work for each other - there's a great belief in each other."
Former Sydney FC striker Brendon Santalab has reportedly employed Fifa to help him through legal action to obtain money owed to him by former club Chengdu Blades. Santalab's agent Lou Sticca told Four Four Two Australia Santalab was owed more than US$70,000 in wages from his three-year stint at the Blades, which ended when he joined China League One rivals Chongqing Lifan for the 2012 season. Fifa, the Chinese FA and Football Federation Australia have now all become involved in the recovery of the owed money: "Brendon served Chengdu Blades for three solid seasons and since the new owners came in over 15 months ago, they have not treated him with any degree of professionalism and respect," Sticca told the site. "The last straw was Chengdu Blades' attempt to force Santalab to forgo the money he is owed by threatening to block his transfer to Chongqing."
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has backed the A-League to recover from its season of drama. After the creation of a new western Sydney team last Wednesday, Football Federation Australia axed Gold Coast United and then were forced to reject the Hunter Sports Group's attempts to hand back their licence to own the Newcastle Jets. Sage, however, believes the league can soldier on. "I am as shocked as anybody and while the club will certainly be in turmoil for the time being, in the bigger picture I feel the A-League will get through this," he told The World Game. "Rugby League survived its Super League war and cricket survived Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket revolution. Everything will survive. FFA chairman Frank Lowy is no idiot and the clubs are really supportive of the new committee structure which came out of the recent owner's meeting with FFA. Somebody will take on Newcastle for sure - I am absolutely certain of that."